Peter:'Are you looking forward to going to the casino tonight?'
Juan:'Yes, I like playing blackjack. The problem is that I've only ever been to a casino where they speak Spanish before. I know how to play the game, but I don't know what the vocabulary is when playing in English. For example, I know that the person who gives the players cards, is called the dealer. But what do you call it when a dealer gives the players cards at the beginning of a game?'
Peter:'In card games, you don't say the dealer gives cards to the players, you say the dealer deals cards to the players. You know that in blackjack you aren't playing against the cards of the other players at the table, but against the house? Which means against the casino, the cards of the dealer who works for the casino.'
Juan:'Yeah, and if there are three players with a better hand (which means better cards) than the dealer at the end of the game. Then all three players win.'
Peter:'That's right. Now, I'll explain what happens in a game of blackjack. The game starts when the players place or put their bet in front of themselves on the table. The bet is how many chips/money they want to gamble in that game of blackjack. In most games of blackjack there is a minimum amount of money/chips the players have to give if they want to play, this is called a minimum bet (e.g. $10). If you win, the casino will give you double the amount of money/chips you bet.
After the players have placed their bets, the dealer deals two cards to all the players and him/herself. All the cards to the players are dealt face up (so both the others players and the dealer can see them). The first dealer's card is dealt face up, but the dealer's second card is dealt face down and is only shown at the end of the game when it's the dealer turn. This second card is called a hole card, because none of the other players can see what it is.'
Juan:'What happens if I have 21 points with the first two cards?'
Peter:'If you have a hand which is 21 points with your first two cards (e.g. an Ace and a 10), it is a called a blackjack and you automatically win and the casino gives you double the amount you bet, plus an additional 50 per cent for having a blackjack (e.g. if your bet was $10, you will receive $25).'
Juan:'So, if I have a hand which is 19 points (e.g. a Jack and a 9). What do I say to not receive any more cards?'
Peter:'When it's your turn, you say stand and you won't get any more cards. But if your first two cards only had a value of 12 points (e.g. an 8 and a 4), you would want the dealer to deal you another card. To get another card, you say hit when it's your turn. If you were happy with this extra card and didn't want another, you would then say stand to the dealer.
But you have to be careful when you hit/receive another card because if the total number of points of your hand/cards is above 21, then you go bust and you are out of the game and lose the money you've bet.'
Juan:'If my first two cards are not good, is there a way I can leave the game and not lose the money that I bet when the game/hand started?'
Peter:'No, there isn't. But if after you have received your first two cards, you say surrender, you can leave the game and only lose half of the money you have bet. Also in blackjack there is a way to bet your chips/money on the dealer to win the game with a blackjack (21 points in two cards). If the dealer's card that is face up (you can see it) is an Ace, the dealer will ask if any of players want insurance, to bet their money that the dealer's other card that is face down is a card with a value of 10 points. If you take insurance and the dealer has a blackjack, you double the money you bet as insurance.'
Juan:'If my first two cards are very good (e.g. have a value of 19 or 20 points), is there a way to add more money/chips to my original bet.'
Peter:'There is only one way to increase your original bet when you already have your first two cards. You can double your bet. But if you do, the dealer has to deal/give you an extra card and after that card you can't hit/ask for any more cards. This is called double or doubling down.
Normally, players only double if their two cards have a total of 11 or 10 points (because there is a high chance/probability that the extra card will be worth 10 points). You wouldn't double if your two cards had 17 points, because there is a high chance you will go bust (go over 21 points) with the extra card.'
Juan:'I have seen players who start to play with one hand and separate the two cards and play in the game with two hands. How can they do that?'
Peter:'When a player's first two cards in their hand are of the same type (e.g. two aces, two queens, two 9s etc...), they have the option to separate the two cards and play two hands/sets of cards in the game. This is called to split. But when you do this, you have to bet on the new hand you have created (you double the amount of money you are betting in the game).'
Juan:'What if your hand draws with the dealer's hand? The number of points you have in your hand/cards is the same as the hand/cards of the dealer at the end of the game. Does the dealer win?'
Peter:'No, they don't. Neither of you win or lose. In blackjack, this is called a push and you get your original bet back.'
Juan:'I saw a film on television where there was a game of blackjack and they said something that a hand/set of cards was a hard 17 and another hand/set of cards was a soft 17. What's the difference?'
Peter:'In a game of blackjack, all the cards have a fixed value/number of points (e.g. a King is 10 points, a 7 is 7 points etc...) except for the Aces. The Aces in blackjack can be worth either 1 point or 11 points and the player can decide which. A soft 17 is where a hand/set of cards has total value of 17 points and includes an Ace which is being used with a value of 11 points (e.g. 'an Ace and a 5' is a soft 16), because the player can change the value of the Ace to 1 point if they want to.
If the hand/set of cards has a total of 17 points and doesn't include an Ace or if the Ace's value can only be 1 point (because the player's hand would bust/be over 21 points if the Ace was used with 11 points), it is called a hard 17 (e.g. 'a King and a 6' is a hard 16 and also 'an Ace, a 5 and a Jack' is a hard 16).'